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193

ASTONSS.

As stated in the General Mroduction to the group, the Aitons came into A5sam
irom Miing Man IB quite modem times.   It is said that there are only some two
hundred of them altogether, some oi; whom lire in the south-west corner of the
District, and the others in the Naga Hills.

Their language, as appears from the specimen, is almost pure Shan, In fact, it is
the form of speech illustrated by Dr, Cushing's Grammar of Shan, rather than that
illustrated by Mr. Needham's Grammar of Khamtl. The specimens which I hare
received from the local authorities of Sibsagar are evidently carefully prepared, and it has
been easy to make out tlie meaning of the greater part of them. Only here and there I
have come across a phrase which baffled me, and this was most probably due to my own
ignorance, rather than io any incorrectness of the text,

The specimens consist of the Parable of the Prodigal Son and of the fable of the boy
who cried ' wolf, wolf.9 In the translation I have marked with a query any passages
•which appeared doubtful to me.

The true character of Aitonia is recognised by the people of Assam, who also call
it SMm Doan, i.e., ' Shan speech.9 In Assamese, doan means'* a foreign language \ and
Sham is the word which the Burmese mispronounce ' Shan ',

Alphabet.— The alphabet used in the following specimens is almost entirely the
Shan, and not the Kfeamti, one.

Note, in the first place, that the vowel »oS f which in the specimens is written,
Shan-fashion, <w5 , and which, for the sake of uniformity with the other Tai languages
of Assam, I have transliterated throughout by aut must, In Aitonia, be pronounced as in
Shan, i.e.) as if it was a lights ul, Thus £ ha&, give, should be pronounced hitl, and
so in every other case where the vowel occurs in the specimens.

As regards consonants, we have the Khamti oo #0, instead of the Shan O , and
the Khamti 00 $hat instead of the Shan c6- In every other case, when the Shan
form differs from the Khamti one, the former is used. Thus we have the Shan CD
instead of the Khamti ^ for set, and the Shan w instead of the Khamti Q for m.

The consonant 0 wa is used more frequently in composition with other consonants
(as we have seen to be the case in Tairong), than is usual in Khamti. Thus km is
written ogS instead of ojf or 008. When o is intended to represent the towel
*, it is compounded as in Khamti and Shan. Thus $5 **%. When it retains its own
sound of wa in composition, as it often does in Shan, but never in Khamti, it tekes the
form 9 . Thus Oft too, go, the Aitonia and Shan word corresponding to the Khamti

We have noted in Khamti, Tairong, and Nora how the ™* «*"**; *° J*
always spelt MA or hech, and, under the head of Khamfi, I have ponited out how fin. »
due to the influence of Burmese, in whioh language a final ei is pronounod as t. Ita